Friday, March 26, 2010

Drawings, Models & Digital Media

Frascari acknowledges that value-laden tools of representation underlie the conception and realisation of architecture. Drawings, prints, models, photographs and computer graphics and suggests that new ways of exploring representation stimulus from digital media provides alternatives to the ideological stagnation plaguing architectural creating.
“During the last two decades, the seductive potential of virtual space has expanded beyond all expectations, through both technological breakthroughs and artistic endeavours, yet the architectural profession is still reluctant to question certain fundamental premises concerning the transparency and homogeneity of its means of representation.”
Analogical thinking is a key element when deciphering architectural drawings and models being the materialization of fluid visible thoughts. By nature drawings make sensory conjunction between feeling and seeing and architectural drawings are an art form, praised for their aesthetic value to poetically demonstrate the architect’s concept. As a tool of representation models act as a balance between realism and creativity, providing a link with the 3 Dimensional world, being a universal language.

The importance of the two different mediums working together can be explained through Piaget’s (1977) theory of two inextricable aspects of knowledge:
The first is the ‘figurative’, which is concerned with the spatial and physical aspects of objects, namely the ‘spatial code’ (Tallandini 2008, pg 217). Spatial coding is experienced through the senses and is associated with the physical model.
Secondly, the ‘operative’ concerns an object’s semantic characteristics and instruments for interpreting the information that is available, namely the ‘symbolic code’ (Tallandini 2008, pg 218). Symbolic coding is the representation of the cognitive processes of comprehension and interpretation associated with drawing.

The creation of new architectural space can be explained as the abstraction and then synergy of symbolic interpretation to generate new forms and patterns from seemingly unrelated information. The combined process of spatial and symbolic coding can be evidenced through the work of Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid (Smith 2005, pg 227) as these architects work dualistically with models and drawings.

Frank Gehry commonly uses sketches to conceptualise his ideas, and continues to sketch throughout his design process. The initial sketches are fluid and expressive which generates a symbolic perception of form and volume (Smith 2005, pg 227). Gehry then heavily depends on physical models in all scales and highly sophisticated 3-dimensional modelling programs to accurately rationalise his concepts spatially, and to represent internal energy (Smith 2005, pg 227).

Zaha Hadid uses drawings and paintings to explore her design process from conceptualisation to completion (Smith 2005, pg 229). Hadid plays with the kinaesthetic of forms and lines. The horizontal line is interpreted as being at rest. The vertical line represents upward motion and the diagonal is associated with the dynamic action of movement (Roth 1993, pg 61). In the spiral house, Hadid integrates the line as a form within a box through the use of vertically ascending landings, linked by ramps. Her sketches show that the spiral is kinked to evoke a change in direction while the parallel lines that dissect the circles suggest a beginning and an end (Smith 2005, pg 229). Through the use of modelling and her further self-analysis via painting, she articulates a resolution.

Inspired by the concept generating strategies that Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid have developed we will endeavour to investigate our own unique process of a figurative and operative synergy. Through the exploitation of newly emerging digital media we will investigate processes of interpreting 2 dimensional media into 3D form and explore the implications this will have on our design processes. To initiate the process we will investigate the geometry of famous art works and convert them into a 3d representation.

As described in Karen Moons' book ‘Modelling Messages; The Architect and the Model, we will be using models as:
Informative; Of all forms of representation, the model is the only truly physical 3 dimensional realization of the architect’s idea, thus providing an instant comprehensible picture, and perception of the project.

Translator; Inspired by the twentieth century rise of abstraction in the fine arts. We will endeavour to isolate theoretical ideas and translate them into models, unformulated as architecture but rather as beautiful artefacts.

Advocate; High tech models are not always “push-button models” and provide a great tool through precise reproduction of a digital file, the articulation of precise details will enable us to explore the final resolution of buildability.

Frascari, Marco 2007, “Questions of representation: the poetic origin of the architecture” The cornwell Press, England, Wiltshire
Moon, Karen 2005, “Modeling Messages: The Architect and the Model”, The Monacelli Press, Inc, New York, New York
Smith, Kendra S. 2005, “Architects’ Drawings: A selection of sketches by world famous architects through history”, Architectural Press, England, Burlington pg 227, 229
Tallandini M. & Luisa M. 2008, “Drawing and the Non-Verbal Mind: A Life-Span Perspective”, Cambridge University Press, New York pg 217-239

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